The new car scene in Israel

In terms of getting to grips with the realities of the marketplace of my new home, the following article from Globes is very helpful.

Record new car deliveries in Israel in 2014

2014 ended with a whimper in the Israeli auto market – less than 10,000 new vehicles sold in December. However, even without December, a traditionally weak month because vehicle leasing companies and private customers postpone purchases to the beginning of the following year, a new all-time record was set in 2014.

240,000 new private vehicles went on the roads in Israel during the year, with households, leasing companies, and various financing institutions spending NIS 23-25 billion on new car purchases alone.

The main reasons for the high figures are clear: the lower prevailing interest rate enabled many people to buy a new car with long-term financing and almost none of their own money, competition in the market pushed prices down, and the entry of more leisure models and mini-models at relatively low prices lowered the threshold for entering the new vehicle market for many people.

Without spoiling the party, we noted that this is not organic growth resulting from an increase in the economy’s power and the economic prosperity of households; it is primarily the inflating of a financing bubble, which raises the market risk in the event of collapse in the used car market.

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Taming the Jag

From The Register:

Want a more fuel efficient car? Then redesign it – here’s how

Crawling from the Wreckage

Cars are mass-produced consumer products sold to users who mostly know very little about them. They are optimised to make a profit for the manufacturer, so low build cost is paramount for most manufacturers – which automatically excludes many design and engineering ideas that would raise efficiency. John Watkinson has been busy in the garage and applied those concepts to his own vehicle and found that they work.

It’s the introduction to a piece by John Watkinson that starts as follows:

Like many others, my greatest problems are, or at least were, energy costs. I’ve solved my household energy problems, but that’s another story. Here I’m talking about solving vehicle efficiency problems – basically reducing the cost and the environmental impact of running a car.

As a designer, one of the problems I find is that consumer products are, almost by definition, sub-optimal and the more cut-throat the market, the more sub-optimal they will be. Cars fall into that category. Under that nice paint job can be some very questionable engineering. Accept that and the process of ceasing to be a consumer has begun.

It’s a terrific article – though of practical use for a very limited subset of motoring and technology enthusiasts – well worth your time to read. Well done that man!

Read it all, here.